Start Using Your Paid Time Off! It’s Good For You (And Your Career)

People are increasingly paying more attention to how their jobs affect their health. They want a healthier work-life balance that includes more paid time off (PTO) and are willing to change jobs to get paid sick days and more vacation time.

Not taking time off of work is a problem. It can lead to a toxic workplace where you are burnt-out, stressed, anxious, irritable, and unhappy. You’ve worked hard to earn your PTO, and it’s time you start using it! It’s good for you, your health, and your career.

What is Paid Time Off (PTO)? Paid time off refers to planned time away from your job where you still receive pay. Your employee handbook or contract will outline how many hours you have and how this time is earned or accrued. That may depend on how long you have been with a company, your position, and so on.

What is Vacation Time? Your vacation time is the number of PTO hours or days you can take off from your regular work schedule. Companies usually try to offer paid and unpaid vacation time to their employees.

PTO and vacation time are often used interchangeably but are two different types of time off that your employer can offer. What you receive depends on the structure of the company. They may have an all-inclusive PTO policy where you get a bank of hours to use as needed, or they may allocate a set number of hours to use specifically for things like vacation, sick leave, or personal days.

Unlimited PTO is another benefit that some employers have started to offer. This trust-based structure allows people to take time off when they need it. However, there is no cap on the number of days an employee can take. Your employer relies on you to be honest about the time you need off without abusing the system.

Some are hesitant to take time off because their managers don’t support it. They are afraid of what it might do to their reputation and chances of getting a promotion. Others fear resentment or retribution from their coworkers. They feel guilty if someone is left to cover their workload and feel pressured not to miss work. If no one can cover for them, they don’t want to return to piles of unfinished work and unanswered emails.

Why You Need Time Off Humans are not designed always to be working. You need downtime to balance out your activity and recharge. Without time off, you become physically and emotionally drained. Your work performance declines, and so does your job satisfaction.

What Happens to My Unused Paid Time Off? You will have to inquire with your employer’s human resource department to determine what will happen to any unused PTO you have accumulated. Some companies will allow you to carry over all of your time, while others will limit this to a certain number of days per year. You would forfeit anything else.

Employers Need to Encourage PTO Employers can also reap the benefits of giving their staff paid time off. When it comes to hiring, job seekers want to work somewhere to grow their skills and achieve their professional and personal goals.

Happy, rested employees are much more productive and pleasant to be around. That can help build stronger business relationships, leading to more customers or clients and increasing the business’s bottom line.

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